Paul Sereno grew up in a Chicago suburb with five siblings, all of whom went on to earn doctorate degrees and become well known research professors at universities. This unusual cohort of scholars drew the attention of the eclectic Interdisciplinary Conference, which in 2017 invited all six to present a symposium (Sereno Symposium) of their choosing, which turned out to be The Landscape of Human Cognition.

42nd Annual Interdisciplinary Conference

The Village at Breckenridge, Colorado

January 29 – February 3, 2017

Sereno Symposium: The Landscape of Human Cognition

The study of the mind and thought rank among the ultimate frontiers in science.  How is an organ weighing a little more than 1000 grams capable of the array of cognitive feats manifested in human history from philosophy, science and the humanities to now conjuring ways, physical and political, to save the planet from ourselves?  Sorting out the human mind is inherently a multidisciplinary task.  This symposium provides a diverse set of viewpoints—from fossils to phonemes—emerging from a single family's perspective.  Expect to learn of some recent insights—and a glimpse of future directions and challenges that remain.

Sereno Biographies

Martin Sereno, Cognitive Neuroscientist


Professor, Department of Psychology—San Diego State University
BS Geology—Northern Illinois University
PhD Conceptual Foundations of Science—University of Chicago
Postdoc, California Institute of Technology

Martin, Director of the new neuroimaging center as SDSU and pioneer of new cortical surface based techniques in brain mapping, focuses on understanding the structure and function of visual, auditory, somatosensory, and motor areas in the human brain. His research considers the evolution of the brain, the origins of human language and communication, and philosophical considerations related to these issues. He has authored many well-cited articles and lectured around the world.

Paul Sereno, Paleontologist/Archaeologist


Professor, Integrative Biology—University of Chicago
BS Biology—Northern Illinois University
PhD Earth Sciences—Columbia University

Paul is known worldwide for his discoveries of scores of new crocodiles, dinosaurs and other creatures on expeditions to remote reaches of Africa, Asia, India, and the Americas and more recently for discovering the largest archaeological site in the Sahara. He has sought to document and understand large-scale evolutionary patterns in the fossil record and the influence of climate on human culture. Author of numerous scientific papers and popular reports in National Geographic magazine and elsewhere, he has lectured worldwide and has been the subject of more than a dozen documentaries.

Joan Sereno, Psycholinguist


Professor & Chair, Department of Linguistics—University of Kansas
BA Philosophy—Northern Illinois University
BS Psychology—Northern Illinois University
PhD Linguistics—Brown University
Postdoc, Central Institute for the Deaf, Washington University in St. Louis
Research Staff, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands
Postdoc, University of California @ Los Angeles

Joan focuses on psycholinguistic and the neurological bases of language. Other interests include speech perception and second language acquisition/bilingualism. In 2006, Joan was awarded the prestigious W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence at the University of Kansas. She has published countless research articles and has presented talks worldwide.

Margaret Sereno, Cognitive Neuroscientist


Associate Professor, Department of Psychology—University of Oregon
BA Psychology—Northern Illinois University
PhD Psychology—Brown University
McDonnell Pew Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California at San Diego/Salk Institute

Margaret focuses on the representation of shape and space in the primate brain using experimental and computational approaches. Recent work has focused on investigating the neural basis of 3D form perception in humans and monkeys, the relationship between shape perception and the artistic skill of drawing, spatial navigation and map use, and responses to nature’s patterns (fractals). Dr. Sereno has collaborations with PIs from the United States and around the world. She was awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship to pursue research at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany. She has published a book, many research articles, and has presented talks worldwide.

Anne Sereno, Cognitive Neuroscientist


Professor, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy—University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston
Professor, Natural Sciences & Psychology—Rice University
BS Biology—Northern Illinois University
BS Mathematics—Northern Illinois University
PhD Psychology—Harvard University
Postdoc, Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
JS McDonnell & NARSAD Young Investigator, Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine

Anne focuses on the higher cognitive functions of attention, memory and eye movements with findings having a direct impact on the diagnosis, treatment and etiology of various human disorders. She has developed an easy-to-use tablet-based app that was able to detect cognitive slowing following subconcussive head blows (such as headers in soccer) and accurately diagnose concussion in the emergency room, research selected as one of the Top Ten Concussion Research Articles of 2015 by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center of Excellence.

Sara Sereno, Cognitive Scientist


Reader, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology—University of Glasgow
BS Psychology—Northern Illinois University
PhD Psychology—University of Massachusetts
McDonnell Pew Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oregon

Sara focuses on the cognitive processes involved in word recognition and reading and their temporal dynamics.  She has been invited as a speaker at Sun Yat-Sen University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  She has published countless research articles and has presented talks worldwide.

Sereno Siblings: top, Sara, Martin, Margaret, Joan; bottom, Paul, Anne.

Martin Sereno

Paul Sereno

Joan Sereno

Margaret Sereno

Anne Sereno

Sara Sereno